False Imprisonment Laws
Penal Code 236
Information on the crime of false imprisonment is found at California penal code section 236. To prove that the defendant is guilty of false imprisonment, the prosecutor must prove:
- The defendant intentionally restrained or confined a person by violence or menace, and
- The defendant’s act made that person stay or go somewhere against that person's will
The term violence in false imprisonment law means using physical force against a person that is greater than the amount necessary to restrain a person. The term menace means verbal or threatening actions that expressly or impliedly communicate a threat of harm.
For example, holding someone in place by force and against a person's will is a violent way to commit false imprisonment, but pointing a gun at someone and telling them to stay where they are, without legal justification for doing so, is false imprisonment by menace.
The term consent in false imprisonment law means that the person acts freely and voluntarily after knowing the true nature of the circumstances.
For example, a person cannot consent to involuntary movement if he or she is so heavily intoxicated that he or she could not understand the nature of the circumstances surrounding the false imprisonment.
PC 236 defines false imprisonment simply as the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another. (PC 236).
Punishment & Sentence for PC 236
False Imprisonment is classified as a wobbler, meaning that PC 236 may be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor.
Misdemeanor false imprisonment convictions carry up to a one year county jail sentence. Felony false imprisonment convictions carry up to a three prison sentence. Whether or not misdemeanor or felony charges are filed depends largely on the circumstances of the case, whether violence was used, and the defendant's criminal history.
False imprisonment is not considered a strike offense under California's Three Strike Sentencing Law. False Imprisonment is not considered a crime of moral turpitude for purposes of immigration or professional licensing concerns but classification as a crime of moral turpitude is not the only factor that immigration or professional licesing agency consider in those collateral cases.
Collateral punishment for PC 236
Penal Code 236 is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars. In addition to any jail or prison sentencing, PC 236 convictions in can lead to other severe consequences such as: Immigration issues (non-U.S. citizens), professional licensing consequences, penalty fines, civil lawsuits, restitution, firearm prohibition, and employment loss.
Defenses to false imprisonment
Common defenses to false imprisonment charges include: mistake of fact, insufficient evidence to prove intent, statute of limitations, self-defense, defense of others, consent to hold or move the allege victim, intoxication of the defendant, insanity, coerced confessions, and more.
If you have been charged with false imprisonment, or California penal code 236, contact our criminal defense lawyer to learn your rights and options without delay.
Crimes related to False Imprisonment
- Assault Penal Code 240
- Battery Penal Code 242
- False Imprisonment with Violence PC 237
- Human Trafficking PC 236.1
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